Tennessee WARN Act

Workers in Tennessee are protected by the Federal WARN Act, which requires certain employers to give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff or plant closing.  Additionally, Tennessee state law imposes certain requirements on employers operating inside the state that differ slightly from the federal law.

Layoffs and Plant Closings Hurt Tennessee Workers.
Mass layoffs and plant closings in Tennessee affect not only workers, but families and communities.  In a state with many different industries and areas that are experiencing disruptive changes, the federal and state WARN Acts can provide some protection if you lose your job as part of a mass layoff or shutdown. The WARN Practice Group at Outten & Golden will work hard to vigorously represent you.

Does the Tennessee Law Apply?

Tennessee’s "Plant Closing and Reduction in Operations" Act applies to employers employing at least 50 to 99 employees, relocations greater than 50 miles, full or partial closings, workplace modernization that results in displacement of workers, and other management decisions that result in a reduction of at least 50 employees over a three month period.

The state law requires covered employers to notify the state’s Dislocated Worker Unit (DWU) at the time the employer notifies its employees of the reduction in operations.

Although layoffs or closures affecting fewer than 50 employees are not covered by either the federal WARN Act or Tennessee state law, employers are strongly encouraged to file a notice so their employees can receive all possible services and benefits from the state.

Does the Federal WARN Act Apply?

The Federal WARN Act applies to mass layoffs or shutdowns in the following situations:

  • Employers must have 100 or more full-time employees who work more than six of the past 12 months and average over 20 hours a week (note that most government employers are not covered).
  • For a Mass Layoff: 50 or more laid-off employees at a site comprising over a third of the workforce at a site are terminated (500 or more do not need to meet the 1/3 ratio).
  • For a Plant Closing or Shut Down: 50 or more employees are let go from the shut worksite.
  • Workforce reductions within a 30-day window are combined into one Mass Layoff.
  • Workforce reductions within a 90-day period may constitute a Mass Layoff, if the threshold layoff numbers above are not met within a 30 day period.
  • The 90-day rule combines two layoffs that may not meet the threshold individually.

If you are confused by the statutes associated with federal and state WARN Acts, you are not alone.  Your best strategy is to consult with a seasoned attorney at Outten & Golden LLP. We are one of the largest employment law firms in the nation.  We have litigated WARN cases throughout the country, including Tennessee.  For more information or to schedule a free telephone consultation with an experienced lawyer, please Contact Us.